At the DuBois Middle School, we appreciate our involved parents and community members. We also enjoy broadcasting our latest news and information here on our News page, where we will chronicle school activities and student achievements and publish announcements. We’ll also offer helpful resources and information. So check back often; we’ll update this page regularly.

Junior High Jams

“Mom, do you have a dozen tiny log cabins on hand for my project? It’s due tomorrow.” If you are experiencing chills running down your spine while reading this, you know what this means. Quickly, you dismantle a train set, a Lego village, and a bulletin board. With sweat pouring into your eyes, you arrange a hundred frilly toothpicks to look like trees, build a paper dock with tiny boats, construct log cabins out of toothpicks, and design a rocky beach using real rocks! Vaguely, you remember that this is your child’s project, so you put him/her in charge of…glue. By midnight, the two of you behold a magnificent graphic map of an imaginary island and its hearty inhabitants who, sustained by the ocean and their rich cultural traditions, would astonish the teacher and the whole junior high!

In a hostile takeover like the island project, your child learned a valuable lesson: Mom or Dad will shoulder the burden of responsibility, and all he/she has to do is nod and glue. Middle schools have lists of learning outcomes for their students, and “Expect parents to craft and complete school projects” is not one of them. While you may have shared some “quality” time with your child, the rest of the family had toast for dinner, the dishes piled up in the sink, and the baby went to bed at 10:00 p.m. without a bath.

You ask, “How could I have avoided this?” Here are some simple ideas that could save your sanity!

  1. Create a time line. Even if this is a dreaded “it’s due tomorrow” assignment, a time line will diffuse anxiety.
    1. Outline the steps necessary to finish the project. Insist your child help with this.
    2. Assign a firm deadline to each of these steps.
    3. Agree upon a set number of times you will check on the project’s progress. Don’t allow the “checkpoints” to exceed five minutes.
  2. Set up a quiet space, lay out some craft supplies, set a timer, and walk away.
  3. No, really. You can do it. Walk away!
  4. Praise your child’s hard work.

Junior high is a place where your child is actively asserting his/her independence and establishing him/herself as distinct from the rest of the family. This growth process also includes learning how to take responsibility for his/her assignments. You can secretly pat yourself on the back when you see that your middle school student decided on his/her own to use real pinecones in his/her diorama of a 100-million-year-old araucaria forest.

Science Around Us

If you are like most parents, you’ve heard the questions, “Where does rain come from?” or “How does popcorn pop?” or, our all-time favorite, “Where does the water go when I flush the toilet?” While these questions can sometimes strike fear in parents (Who wants to have to say, “I don’t know,” to their child?), there are many ways to bring science into your lives, and satisfy your child’s curiosity at the same time.

Questions lead to learning, and you certainly don’t want to squash that. If you don’t know the answers to your child’s questions, admit it. It’s the perfect opportunity to learn together and grow your minds in the process. Head to the computer and do a little research together! Talk to your child about his question, and encourage him to do most of the legwork - with your assistance.

You can always try heading off some of those difficult questions before they start: Visit a local children’s science museum. To find one near you, visit the Association of Children’s Museums, or check out this worldwide list of hands-on science centers. Many science museums offer hands-on exhibits and workshops perfect for little, curious minds!

Though we don’t always think about it, science is all around us every day. Talk to your child about some of the things related to science around your home: electricity, the Internet, recycling, gardening, cooking, digestion, etc. The more you talk, the more questions you will likely encourage. But that’s okay. Go back to that opportunity to learn together!

There are endless websites you and your child can visit together to learn about science. Among them are ScienceNews for Kids, Brain POP, Zoom (by PBS), and Science With Me, as well as others. Above all, encourage those questions, frustrating as they may be sometimes. Support his interest in science and learning!

Getting Kids to Eat Nutritiously

Nutritious eating is important for children to learn early in life. They are influenced by what they eat at home and at school. By finding fun and creative ways at home and by supporting schools that provide healthier food, you can greatly influence your children to enjoy eating nutritiously.     

Home is where your children gain a foundation for good nutrition. It’s true what they say, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Breakfast helps fuel your children for their day at school, which is why it is so important that you have influence over what your children eat. An NPR article presents studies showing that children who eat breakfast before going to school perform better, have more energy, and pay better attention to their teachers than those who do not. Studies have also shown that what your children eat for breakfast affects their performance throughout the day.

Sending your children to school with a nutritious lunch can be a deterrent to the vending machines. Dr. Geoffrey Greene, president of the Society of Nutrition Education, found that parental limitations on how many sugary drinks a child was allowed to drink at home made a difference for the better in how many sugary drinks they purchased at school.

As parents, you have a tremendous amount of influence over what your kids eat. The Super Kids Nutrition website has great articles and fun ideas about how to get your children involved in eating more nutritiously. By having fun and being creative with your children, they will want to eat better.